Associates in Advocacy now has two sites on the internet. Our primary help site is at http://www.aiateam.org/. There AIA seeks to offer aid to troubled pastors, mainly those who face complaints and whose careers are on the line.

Help is also available to their advocates, their caregivers, Cabinets, and others trying to work in that context.

This site will be a blog. On it we will address issues and events that come up.

We have a point of view about ministry, personnel work, and authority. We intend to take the following very seriously:


Some of our denomination's personnel practices have real merit. Some are deeply flawed. To tell the difference, we go to these criteria to help us know the difference.

We also have a vision of what constitutes healthy leadership and authority. We believe it is in line with Scripture, up-to-date managerial practice, and law.

To our great sadness, some pastors who become part of the hierarchy of the church, particularly the Cabinet, have a vision based on their being in control as "kings of the hill," not accountable to anyone and not responsible to follow the Discipline or our faith and practice. They do not see that THE GOLDEN RULE applies to what they do.

If you are reading this, the chances are you are not that way. We hope what we say and do exemplify our own best vision and will help you fulfill yours. But we cannot just leave arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance to flourish. All of us have the responsibility to minimize those in our system.

We join you in fulfilling our individual vow of expecting to be perfect in love in this life and applying that vow to our corporate life in the United Methodist Church.

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If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Rev. Jerry Eckert. His e-mail address is aj_eckert@hotmail.com. His phone number is 941 743 0518. His address is 20487 Albury Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Thank you.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Invitation to a Workshop on Advocacy

You are invited.  This is the text of the letter being sent to all on the Associates in Advocacy (AIA) mailing list.  Take it as an invitation to you:

"To be an advocate, training sure helps!"  Whoever made that comment at last year's annual AIA meeting, it led to developing a three day workshop this year.  

From about noon on November 12 through noon of the 14th, the workshop will be held in the Chicago area.  Key resource people for this training event are Rev. Scott Campbell, counsel for Revs. Tom Ogletree and Amy DeLong in their church trials; Dr. Larry Pickens, former member of the Judicial Council; and Dr. Phil Amerson, President of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.  With the assistance of members and these leaders, we hope to cover the following over the three days:

Tuesday afternoon - basics of advocacy and the resources available through the Church and through AIA

Tuesday evening - Church trials, their principles and their problems, Rev.Campbell leading

Wednesday morning - Alternatives to the standard complaint processes

Wednesday afternoon - The importance of advocacy and mutual support in an era of changing church dynamics, Dr. Amerson leading

Wednesday - Advocacy and the Judicial Council, Dr. Pickens leading

Thursday morning - Advocacy and General Conference

Registration is limited because the intent is for the sessions to be more seminars than lectures and we hope participants and leaders will have a lot of personal face time over meals and between sessions.  Advocacy tends to have different problems in different situations so it is important to have chances for more detailed sharing with the those who have a lot of experience.  AIA has a number of the most experienced advocates in the denomination who have found they help each other.  So the workshop will foster such networking.

CEUs will be offered to those who are present for any combination of morning, afternoon, and evening sessions totalling ten hours.

The site for the sessions is the Super 8 Ohare Motel, 2951 Touhy in Elk Grove Village, IL.  We are limited to a total of forty, including the resource people.  AIA is picking up the meeting expenses so that participants have no additional costs beyond transportation, food, and lodging.  Some scholarship help is available.  

To sign up, there are two things to consider: 

1. If you need to stay overnight, call the Super 8 Motel O’Hare at 847 827 3133, tell them you are coming for the Associates in Advocacy meeting, and sign up for the nights you need.  They provide rides to and from the motel to O’Hare.  Ask about it.

2. Whether or not you need to stay overnight, such as being in for just a few hours on one of the days of the workshop, let me know when you will be there with us.  -  If you will be coming in your car, please let me know. We may have to drive to a restaurant for our meals and I want to be sure we have enough cars.

Breakfast is provided to motel guests by the motel.  Other meals, including Tuesday and Thursday noons, can be taken at nearby places within walking distance.  All meals are at each participant's expense.  Prices can all be under $10 to $15 per meal.
Several of our folks will come in on Monday night.  Many of us fly in Tuesday morning.  I look forward to being with you.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.

Bring your laptop. 
Sign up at the motel and then let me know you are coming.  If you have an odd schedule which may have you coming late or leaving early, let me know.
Your friend (John 15:15),


Rev. Jerry Eckert, contact person, 
Email: aj_eckert@hotmail.com
Phone: 941 743 0518